Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a home. Fortunately, most Dutch owners take out home insurance. Yet it often goes wrong. For example, many homeowners pay too much for their home insurance or do not report renovations.


    What is buildings insurance?

    Buildings insurance comes under the umbrella of home insurance. It covers damage to the structure of the home, provided that the insured person is not at fault. For example, buildings insurance will reimburse for roof damage caused by a storm, or will cover fire damage (Dutch). However, the home insurance does not reimburse the contents of the home.

    • Compensates for damage to homes that is not the result of your own intent

    • Often exclusions for, for example, war damage or damage due to nuclear disasters

    • Reimbursements up to the rebuilding value of the home

    • To be concluded by the owner or lessor

    • Buildings insurance is often mandatory when taking out a mortgage

    woman explains buildings insurance to elderly people

    Buildings insurance costs

    The buildings insurance premium will depend on various factors. The cost of rebuilding the house is the most important. The higher the rebuilding cost, the higher the premium. The specific coverage of the policy will also dictate the cost of the premium. Buildings insurance that also covers outbuildings, for example, will have a higher premium.

    Difference between buildings insurance and contents insurance

    Buildings insurance compensates damage to the property, the infrastructure and what is permanently attached to it, and the contents insurance pays for damage to the contents of the home. Below are a number of examples that illustrate the difference.

    Buildings insuranceContents insurance
    Storm damage to the roofYesNo
    Damage to the kitchen due to fireYesNo
    Water damage to a floating floorNoYes
    Damage to a television during a moveNoYes
    Damage to the facade from a fallen treeYesNo
    Damage to a sofa due to a leak in the roofNoYes

    Compare buildings insurance policies

    The conditions for buildings insurance policies differ from insurer to insurer. For example, some policies reimburse for glass damage, others for damage to out-buildings such as sheds and fences. The premium is different between different insurers and policies too, and not every policy has a guarantee against underinsurance.

    What to consider when comparing buildings insurance policies?

    There are several things you need to consider when comparing different buildings insurance policies and insurers:

    • Does the home insurance have a guarantee against underinsurance?

    • What are the obligations for the guarantee against underinsurance?

    • Which claims does the home insurance cover?

    • What exclusions does the home insurance have?

    • What is the deductible of the home insurance?

    • In what situations and to what amount is the compensation limited?

    • Are there special rules for solar panels?

    • What is already insured by the association of owners (VvE)?

    • What is the premium for the home insurance?

    Guarantee against underinsurance

    Buildings insurance reimburses a maximum of the rebuilding value of the home. For a new-build home this value is easy to calculate, but it can be more difficult for an existing home. You can submit a recent valuation report, or the insurer will work by filling in a value metre. As prices for materials and labour changes, this can mean rebuilding costs could be higher than the agreed value, which is underinsurance. You should look for a guarantee against underinsurance.

    Covered claims

    Buildings insurance does not cover all damage to the building. For example, fire damage is usually covered, as is frost damage or storm damage. Some damages are not covered, such as damage due to renovations, or other incidents, where extra coverage is required. Always be aware of exclusions, to ensure you are covered.

    Damage payment

    Your excess plays a role, the deductible amount the insurer does not reimburse in case of a claim. A damage of 1,000 Euro with an excess of 400 Euro means that the insurer pays out 600 Euro. This figure changes with different insurers. There are also special rules for special circumstances, such as compensation for loss of rent during reconstruction for a certain period only.

    Be careful with solar panels

    Always report a drastic change to the structure of your building, such as the installation of solar panels. Underinsurance could be an issue here. Solar panels that are not securely attached to the roof could lead to insurers claiming it is household contents and not buildings insurance that covers it. Terms and conditions will differ between insurers, with different views on solar panels. So be aware of your options.

    Supplementary home insurance

    Taking out home insurance is the owner's responsibility. The association of owners (VvE) will take out home insurance for an apartment complex. That does not mean the individual owner is covered, as this only covers damage to the exterior of the building. Supplementary insurance can be used to cover a new kitchen or bathroom, but be careful of double coverage.

    For the sake of clarity, below you can see who takes out home contents or buildings insurance in different situations:

    Exterior property (e.g. facade and roof)Internal buildings (e.g. kitchen and fixed floor)Household contents (e.g. cupboard and loose carpet)
    Apartment, is rentedAssociation of OwnersOwnerTenant
    Apartment, is not rentedAssociation of OwnersOwnerOwner
    House is rentedOwnerOwnerTenant
    House is rentedOwnerOwnerOwner

    Buildings insurance premium

    Even when two home insurance policies are identical, two insurers may arrive at two different premiums. That is why we advise to always request different quotes and compare prices.

    Glass insurance

    Glass damage is automatically insured with some buildings insurance, but is an additional cover with some insurers. For example, stained glass is not always covered, there are sometimes deductibles and damage management.Fortunately, there is a lot of choice, because almost all home insurers offer (optional) glass insurance.

    Switch to another home insurance policy

    There could be a few reasons why you want to switch to a different home insurance or buildings insurance. Always compare before you do switch, and always inform your insurer if major changes to the building or your situation have taken place.

    Why switch buildings insurance?

    Even if you initially opted for the best home insurance for your situation, things change and it might make sense to switch your buildings insurance again. This could be down to a few reasons:

    • The home insurer unilaterally changes the policy conditions and now a different buildings insurance is more favourable.

    • The house has undergone many renovations and this has made the premium more expensive than what is the case with another home insurer.

    • The insured has moved and the original insurer is now less appealing.

    • The contents of the house have changed and now the premium of the contents insurance has become considerably more expensive. It is more interesting to take out home contents and buildings insurance with another insurer.

    • Investments have been made in burglary-resistant items and another insurer offers an interesting discount for this.

    man and woman switching insurance policy

    Switch and save on home insurance

    You can save a lot of money by switching to a different home insurance policy. However, switching is not the only way to save on home insurance. There are often many other ways to limit the cost. These are the main ways to save on home insurance:

    • Take out contents and buildings insurance with the same insurer to save money in the event of damage claims

    • Take out an insurance package to get a discount

    • Add coverage restrictions where coverage isn't needed

    • Avoid double insurance and check whether the association of owners (VvE) does not already have insurance

    • Opt for a higher deductible with the insurance policy

    How to switch to another buildings insurance policy?

    Switching to another buildings insurance policy is relatively simple and can be done very quickly. It is often possible to switch within one month, but of course it depends on the duration of the notice period. Switching to another insurance policy can be done in some simple steps; comparing policies to see which are more favourable to you and ensuring you are covered from one day to the next when switching, but also not left with double coverage where two policies overlap.

    Buildings insurance costs

    Home insurance is almost always required by banks when applying for a mortgage on a property. Buildings insurance comes at a cost, and here we look at ways in which you can save money on your policy.

    Insured value and cost of the buildings insurance

    The cost of buildings insurance depends on the coverage and the excess. A higher value of rebuilding the house leads to a higher premium, whilst a lower deductible will also lead to a higher premium.

    Risk and costs of the buildings insurance

    Risk also plays a role in the cost of buildings insurance. The greater the risk, the higher the cost of the insurance policy. This risk is determined by locations, as well as a range of other conditions:

    • The size of the house: the bigger a house (the more likely a meteorite will hit it)

    • Material of the outer walls: a small fire causes more damage to wooden walls than to concrete walls

    • Type of house: a detached house is more expensive because there are more exterior walls that can be damaged

    • The roof: a thatched roof means an additional fire risk, while roof tiles and safety measures such as a spark arrestor limit the risk

    • The location of the home: Some areas are more likely to be burglarized

    The above rules apply to classic houses or apartments. Special buildings and monuments will be valued by a specialist company or inspector.

    Two types of buildings insurance

    Most insurers have two types of buildings insurance: extra comprehensive insurance policy and an all-risk insurance policy. All-risk buildings insurance is more extensive, but also more expensive. What is or is not covered by these two insurance policies differs from insurer to insurer.

    Cost price of an average buildings insurance policy

    Nibud (National Institute for Budget Information) recently conducted a study into the average cost of buildings insurance. The prices differ depending on the region and the type of house. However, keep in mind that these are only average values.

    Type of houseAverage monthly premium in a cheap regionAverage monthly premium in an expensive region
    2-under-1-roof house16.50 Euro20.00 Euro
    Terraced house14.50 Euro20.50 Euro
    Corner house16.50 Euro23.00 Euro
    Detached house19.00 Euro44.00 Euro

    Insurers of buildings insurance

    Almost every insurer offers home insurance. It is good to know which home insurers are on the list and what differentiates them. Each insurer uses its own calculation methods and therefore the best insurer for you will change on a case-by-case basis.

    Insurers that offer home insurance include:

    • Cloverleaf Insurance

    • Aegon

    • Unigarant


    • Gouda insurance

    • FBTO

    • Univé

    • InShared

    • Centraal Beheer

    • Allianz Direct

    • Alpina Insurance

    • Interpolis

    • VvAA

    • SNS

    • Netherlands National

    • ABN Amro

    • HEMA

    • OHRA

    • ING

    Save on buildings insurance

    Many people remain loyal to their buildings insurance policy for years, but it might make sense to switch to save money. There are a few ways in which you can save on your buildings insurance:

    1. Save on coverage and deductible

    Consider the exact coverage you need. The greater the coverage, the higher the premium will be. Similarly, a lower deductible could lead to a higher premium, and vice versa. Always be aware of the coverage and how it affects your specific situation.

    2. Police seal Safe Living

    The Police Seal of Safe Living (in Dutch) can provide a discount for home contents insurance and sometimes also for buildings insurance. A home insurance package can often bring a discount, but will require smoke detectors, certified fencing and locks.

    3. Compare building insurers

    Each insurer has its own rates and ways of calculating risk, leading to different prices. Compare policies:

    • When taking out a new home insurance policy

    • Every three years

    • If the family composition changes

    • After renovations

    • When moving house

    • In the event of a change in the premium or policy conditions to the detriment of the insured

    4. Different insurance policies with the same company

    Taking out different insurance policies with the same insurance company often provides package discounts, where you are covered for a wide range of problems, such as home contents and buildings insurance in one.

    5. Avoid double coverage

    Double coverage costs money. This is the case when switching to a new insurer, but also for multiple policies. Even if the owners’ association (VvE) have home insurance, it is advisable for a homeowner to check they are not double covered for certain things.

    6. Pay per year

    The premium of the home insurance can be paid monthly, but often also in advance for the full year. Many insurers grant a discount with an annual premium. This discount can be up to 3%.

    Should I take out a separate solar panel insurance?

    Solar panels that are earth-and-nail fixed are automatically covered by buildings insurance but it is possible to take out additional solar insurance. Often other situations are also covered, such as compensation for a loss of generated energy in the event of damage.

    However, the premium of solar panel insurance is quite high. The exact conditions differ from insurer to insurer, but in principle the difference between the cover provided by the buildings insurance and the solar panel insurance is as follows:

    Buildings insuranceContents insuranceSolar panel insurance
    Damage from hail, storm or lightningYesOptional possible (e.g. for rental property)Yes
    Damage from fireYesOptional possible (e.g. for rental property)Yes
    Damage due to theftYesOptional possible (e.g. for rental property)Yes
    Impact by aircraft and spacecraftSometimesSometimesYes
    Damage due to incorrect installationNeverNeverNever
    Damage due to faults in the solar panelsNeverNeverNever
    Loss of production in the event of a covered claimNeverNeverNever

    Frequently asked questions about home insurance

    What is the difference between buildings insurance and contents insurance?

    Buildings insurance compensates for damage to the home, the infrastructure and what is permanently attached to it, and contents insurance compensates for damage to the contents of the home.

    What is the guarantee against underinsurance?

    With buildings insurance, the house is always insured at the rebuilding value. The rebuilding value is always lower than the free sale value because it does not take into account the value of the land. Changes to the house, for example by installing solar panels, can increase the rebuilding value. If there is under-insurance at a later stage, the determined rebuilding value is lower than the actual damage, the insurer will in principle reimburse a maximum of the determined rebuilding value. In the case of a guarantee against underinsurance, the insurer will still pay for the actual damage, provided that everything was properly specified when taking out and renovations were always reported correctly.

    Does the tenant have to take out buildings insurance?

    Buildings insurance must be taken out by the landlord. As a tenant, it is recommended that you take out home contents insurance yourself.

    What is the difference between home insurance and fire insurance?

    Fire insurance only pays for fire damage, while home insurance also covers damage in other cases. Examples are storm damage, lightning strike and burglary.

    What does buildings insurance not cover?

    Buildings insurance will never compensate for intent or recklessness or damage due to overdue maintenance. In addition, home insurance policies often have a number of exclusions. The exact exclusions differ from insurer to insurer. Floods, earthquakes, riots, uprisings, wars, terrorist attacks and nuclear reactions are usually excluded.

    What is provisional cover?

    If the buildings insurance with one insurer has already expired while the other home insurer still has to assess the application, the home insurer can grant provisional cover. This means that the house is temporarily already insured until the application has been fully assessed. Not all home insurers grant such provisional cover.

    What if the home insurer changes the policy conditions?

    Most insurers include a special clause in the policy that gives them the right to unilaterally change the policy conditions. They are then obliged to inform the policyholder of this. If this is a deterioration for the insured, the insured has the right to cancel the insurance contract. This is also possible if cancellation would not be possible under normal circumstances.

    Is switching to a different home insurance policy mandatory when moving house?

    No, but the insurer must be notified of the change of address. The rebuilding value and the risk will also change as a result, and the premium adjusted accordingly.

    Is switching to the home insurance company of the VvE a good idea?

    Switching to the building insurer of the VvE is not mandatory, but it is often interesting. The building insurer of the VvE knows where the risks lie and can ensure that the apartment is properly insured. This is especially the case if the insurer of the VvE also arranges the contents insurance. This provides benefits in the event of a claim for damages.

    Is switching via a comparison website more expensive?

    No additional costs are charged when an insured person switches after being referred by a comparison website. Such comparison websites are paid by the insurers themselves and this is not passed on to the insured. It therefore makes no difference to the insured whether they contact the insurer directly or visit a comparison website.

    Is it possible to change my mind after switching?

    When taking out insurance, there is a legal cooling-off period of 14 days. Within 14 days after taking out home insurance, it is therefore still possible not to do business with the new home insurer. In principle, the termination is a unilateral legal act that cannot be reversed. It is therefore recommended to first contact the previous insurer to reverse the cancellation.

    What is the difference between an extra comprehensive buildings insurance policy and an all-risk buildings insurance policy?

    An extra comprehensive insurance only covers the situation that is explicitly stated in the policy conditions. An all-risk insurance policy covers all claims, except when they are expressly stated in the policy conditions. In theory, an all-risk home insurance policy can therefore be less favourable than an extra comprehensive home insurance policy, but in practice this is not the case.

    Do I need additional coverage alongside the buildings insurance?

    That is of course a personal choice. A general rule says that insurance is there for risks that you cannot easily bear yourself. For example, some people also want to insure the windows of their home and add extra coverage for this, but that is not equally useful for everyone.

    What information is needed to compare buildings insurance policies?

    Personal details about the entire household and the address of the house (prices sometimes differ from municipality to municipality) are always necessary. In addition, include all information about the home. All house characteristics, such as the type of roof or age, play a role. The foundation in particular is an important factor in determining the premium. In addition, a number of insurers also want to know the WOZ value of the home.

    Is a combined buildings and contents insurance advisable?

    The question here again is whether or not the insured person is willing and able to bear the risk of damage to the contents himself. If that is not the case, a combined buildings and contents insurance has both advantages and disadvantages. With a combined home contents and buildings insurance, the insured often enjoys a package discount, there are no gaps in the cover and the claims settlement is usually smoother. Nevertheless, it is sometimes financially more interesting to take out insurance with two different insurers without the package discount.

    Is a voluntary increased deductible an option?

    With many insurers it is indeed possible to adjust the deductible, sometimes even between 0 and 1,000 Euro. The impact on the premium can be significant. However, there are also insurers where the deductible is not adjustable or where the deductible can be increased in the event of a second claim in the same year.

    Are there costs when taking out the buildings insurance?

    Often a one-time administration fee is charged, but it is rarely a high fee. In addition, there are costs when an appraisal company is engaged, but that is not mandatory.

    What is the influence of the location on the cost of buildings insurance?

    When determining the risk, the insurer takes into account the location of the home. The insurer usually asks for the post code, which indicates in which district the house is located. Based on this, the system calculates the risk of damage in that district. For example, if burglaries happen more often, the cost of home insurance will be higher. Some insurers go so far as to even take the house number into account. A specific approach can be both to the advantage and to the disadvantage of the insured. That is why comparing home insurance policies is a good idea.

    What is the influence of the foundation on the buildings insurance?

    Some insurers also insure the foundations, other insurers do not. The chance that something will happen to the foundations is small, especially since earthquakes are often excluded. When the foundations are co-insured, it often does not cost much extra. The cost of the buildings insurance will depend on the type of foundation.

    How much does additional glass insurance cost?

    The glass of a home is not always insured by the buildings insurance policy. If this is the case, it concerns glass damage in the event of fire, burglary and explosion. It is often possible to have this insured additionally, for example in case of glass damage due to vandalism. Usually there is a fairly high deductible, but on the other hand the additional cover only costs 3 to 6 Euro extra per month.

    Are there many differences between the policy conditions of home insurers?

    Not with regard to the basic cover, such as fire or thunderstorm cover. There are often some differences with additional coverage however. For example, some insurers limit the maximum payment in the event of garden damage. There are also often differences with regards to the deductible. Fortunately, more and more insurers offer a guarantee against underinsurance.

    How do I choose a good home insurer?

    Always consider first what the greatest risks are and what deductible is desirable. Then request different quotes and only make the choice once you are certain of your preferred policy.

    Do the listed buildings insurance companies also offer contents insurance?

    All of the above insurers also offer contents insurance. With many insurers, customers even get a discount if they combine buildings and contents together under an overall home insurance policy.

    Are there price differences between home insurers?

    Yes. On the one hand, this is because the policy conditions differ greatly, but on the other hand, the free market naturally plays a role, with each insurer choosing its own rates. Precisely because prices often differ, it is recommended to compare home insurance policies carefully.

    Which home insurers are good?

    All insurers listed above are supervised by the AFM (Authority for the Financial Markets). With the above home insurers, they comply with all regulatory and legal rules.

    Is it better to take out buildings and contents insurance with one insurer?

    In many cases, taking out both buildings and contents insurance with one insurer is the best case as you can receive a package discount. It also helps any claims to be handled smoothly. It can sometimes be cheaper to use two different insurers though, so always be careful that you make the correct choice for your circumstances.

    How does the insurer determine the premium of the buildings insurance?

    The most important factor is basically the rebuilding value or the amount needed to rebuild the building. The rebuilding value is determined by means of a questionnaire or by a report from an appraiser. In addition, the risk also plays a role, as does the place of residence. Every insurer estimates the risk in a different way, which means that price differences are possible.

    Can I save by underinsurance?

    Yes, but that's not the point. With underinsurance, the insured always runs extra risk, even when there is limited damage. If the rebuilding value is underestimated by 20%, the insurer will only pay 80% of the damage, even in the event of a smaller claim, excluding any excess.

    Which is more appealing: additional glass cover or separate glass insurance?

    Always compare which is the better option for your circumstances. Sometimes it is cheaper to take out separate glass insurance, other times it makes sense to add glass cover to your existing buildings insurance policy, though this will result in a higher premium. Additional glass coverage may make more sense for buildings with a limited rebuilding value, while the reverse is often the case for buildings with a high rebuilding value.